0

I went to Japan as a Churchill Fellow to see how making, skill and agency is regarded, which I did through focusing on a single section of objects: tools. I have catalogued, made and researched tools for more than 10years now in my artistic practice.  In doing so I have traced the changing landscape of crafts in Europe, I have created work about labour and care, and illustrated the importance of their value to economic, social and cultural development.

I have done this through creating public movements of tool cataloguing (The Tool Appreciation Society Hull), exhibiting my handmade tools at internationally significant galleries (Palais de Tokyo L’Usage des Formes) and co-producing award winning BBC4 Documentary Handmade in Hull.

The title for my research in Japan is ‘The Lifecycle of Tools Within Japanese Culture’. Japan is unique for it’s combination of quality and ceremony regarding tools; directly fed from respect for tradition, regionality & mastery of technique. My proposition is to explore, what I have termed ‘the life cycle of tools’.  At the hands of their skilled owners, different tools can be seen to be born (forging, tool making), have a life (use through dedicated crafts people, have a death (Kuyō Services), have an afterlife (Tsukumogami)

The aim of the project was to gain a deep understanding of importance of tools within Japanese culture and how this permeates everyday life. Through sending time with master tool makers and users in Tsubame-Sanjo I learnt about their appreciation for tool making and learnt some of their techniques. At KOUBA Factory Festival I researched how these events are creating new markets for metalworking industry.

My practice is to creating artwork inspired by tools is a unique method of communication as it links with skill, location and heritage communicating the importance of personal agency; to build and make the world we want to live in. Japanese practices and philosophies are only possible to understand when experienced in person; this project allowed me to take part in these very unique elements of Japanese tool culture. Ceremonies that associated with tool making and for craftspeople giving gratitude for their tools as well as rituals for everyday use will give me insight that would be impossible any other way. These experiences have directly fed into my artistic practice and the ongoing creation of new bodies of work.

The aim of the project is to learn about the deep understanding & importance of tools within Japanese culture and how this permeates everyday life. Through sending time with master tool makers and users in Tsubame-Sanjo I hope to have a unique position to learn about their appreciation for tool making and learn some of their techniques as well as learning about how Factory Festivals are creating new markets for metalworking industry. My practice is to creating artwork inspired by tools is a unique method of communication as it links with skill, location and heritage communicating the importance of personal agency; to build and make the world we want to live in. Japanese practices and philosophies are only possible to understand when experienced in person; this project aims to research and take part in these very unique elements of Japanese tool culture. Ceremonies that associated with tool making and for craftspeople giving gratitude for their tools as well as rituals for everyday use will give me insight that would be impossible any other way. These experiences will directly feed into my artistic practice and the creation of new bodies of work.